- Dividend Champions: Companies that have seen their dividends increase for 25 or more years in a row
- Dividend Aristocrats: Publicly traded companies in S&P 500 with a minimum market capitalisation of $3bn increase dividend payments for 25 consecutive years
- Dividend Kings: Publicly traded companies in S&P 500 increase dividend payments for at least the past 50 years
Currently, there are estimated 133 Dividend Champions, 65 Dividend Aristocrats and 32 Dividend Kings.
American States Water Co. (AWR-NYSE)
- American water and electricity utility company founded in 1929
- 50-year privatisation contract with US government
- Market capitalisation of $3.3bn
Featuring a streak of dividend increases for 67 years, AWR is awarded all three dividend titles. Majority of the business revenue comes from the water division, aka the Golden State Water Company, which provides water services to approximately 262,000 customers in California. Other divisions include the Bear Valley Electric Service, Inc. and American States Utility Services, Inc., serving one million people in nine states.
In the mission statement on their website, they said ‘AWR is committed to maximise shareholder value through a combination of capital appreciation and cash dividends.’ Their values and mission along with delivering excellent water and electric services to their customers would be key to their record for most consecutive dividend increases. We are going to have a deeper look into their financial charts.
Figure 1. 30-year dividend history of American States Water company (AWR) from Macrotrends.net
The chart above shows the share price, dividend payout and dividend yield during the 30-year period from 1992-2021. Over the last 67 years, AWR has increase its dividend payout every year alongside its sustained stock price growth to set the record-breaking streak.
Figure 2. Dividend detail between 2007 and 2021 from Dividendinvestor.com
The chart above shows the strong positive correlation between the growth in share price and the dividend increases. Although there has been a reaction to the covid-19 with slight drop in the share price, AWR has keeping up the pace with their goal of sustained growth.
Future of AWR
AWR is in the 94th percentile for efficiency among its industry competitors. In my opinion, the excellent economic efficiencies they delivered alongside with the continued growth in share price would bring the dividend payout further into the future. Moreover, AWR has also committed to the ESG investing values, with capital spending to improve water and renewable electricity reliability and reduce the water loss. All these factors can demonstrate the firm’s potential to keep the record position.
–Bobby Han, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)